10–16 June 2018.
When we face temptations, it’s easy to tell ourselves that this temptation is such a little thing and won’t have a big impact on our lives. It’s only afterwards that we see the terrible results that small temptation led us to. When King David first looked at Bathsheba and gave into his temptation to have her, I doubt he imagined just how much disaster that was going to lead to. But like tiny weeds in a garden, small temptations put down roots in our lives and then grow and grow. Soon are lives are taken over by them and even destroyed.
We see this same dangerous process in 1 Kings 21. King Ahab looks out over Naboth’s vineyard, and a tiny temptation of greed takes root in his heart. A small piece of land is nothing, but the king decides that he absolutely wants that land for himself. So when Naboth refuses to give the land to the king, Ahab falls into a deep depression. Like a small child, the king becomes grumpy and sulks because he can’t have the thing he wants.
This behaviour is embarrassing and shameful, but the actions of the king’s wife Jezebel are even worse. If Jezebel had been a good wife, she would have told the king to stop being so childish. But instead, Jezebel encourages the king. She even comes up with a plot to kill Naboth, destroy his family, and take over his ancestral land. At that point everything falls apart. Before the story ends, Ahab’s little moment of temptation and greed leads to so much death, destruction, murder, suffering, and final condemnation of the king and his wife. And for what? Just a small piece of land.
Should husbands and wives always support each other? Does being a good friend mean always helping our friends get what they want? We often do have that expectation, and we demand that our friends are always on our side. But that’s not what real friendship is. Good husbands and wives, and good friends tell us when we are doing something wrong, and they pull us away from evil. A good friend won’t always say yes to us. That’s not always easy for us to accept; we think that friendship means being totally loyal. But a true friend cares about our lives, wanting what is best for us. A true friend guides us away from evil and supports us in doing good.
That’s the type of friend I hope we can all be. And that’s the type of friend I hope we can all be blessed to have!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis